Toyota, Panasonic to set up electric vehicle battery joint venture

Toyota, Panasonic to set up electric vehicle battery joint venture

Companies plan to combine R&D, production resources as growth of EVs climb globally.

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Toyota City, Japan – Toyota Motor Co. and Panasonic Corp. are forming a joint venture to develop automotive batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of 2020.

Toyota will own 51% of the new company with Panasonic holding 49%. The new company will conduct research and development (R&D), production engineering, manufacturing, procurement, order receipt, and management related to automotive prismatic lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries, and next-generation batteries.

Toyota will transfer equipment and battery R&D and production engineering personnel to the joint venture. Panasonic will transfer equipment, liabilities, and personnel, including manufacturing capacity in Japan and in Dalian, China.

The companies expect the JV to employ 3,500. Products produced by the joint venture will be sold to various automakers, primarily by Panasonic.

Numerous battery-related challenges must be tackled to make EVs commercially viable in the mass market – requiring advanced technological capabilities to address cost, energy density, charging time, safety, stable supply capacity, and effective recycling structures.

Company officials say the business environment demands joint action instead of independent efforts by battery manufacturers or automobile manufacturers.

Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said, "Together with Panasonic, we want to hone our competitiveness in batteries, which represent one of the core technologies of EVs… We want to help find solutions to issues such as global warming, environment-related challenges, and energy-related challenges."

Panasonic Senior Managing Executive Officer Masahisa Shibata said, "Uniting with Toyota's battery and production-engineering technologies provides us an excellent opportunity for being able to evolve our automotive prismatic batteries, which have an established track record of performance and safety, faster than ever. Through the electrification of vehicles, we want to accelerate our contribution to the realization of a society of mobility that is kind to the environment."